Chemistry for Kids

Chemistry is the scientific study of identifying the substances that compose all matter as well researching their properties and the ways that they combine, change and interact with each other.

In many cases, the combination of substances can transform and create entirely new ones. To identify all substances, scientists created the Periodic Table.


Why is chemistry cool?

Studying chemistry gives us an open door for explanations of so much of the world around us. We learn the properties of elements and how they act and interact with each other. Chemistry explains why things happen the way they do, from the creation of the clouds and the air that we breathe to the tiniest molecule and atom.

Why is chemistry so important in our everyday lives?

Everything around us is made up of some form of chemical and that includes our bodies. We have chemical reactions in almost every aspect of life and learning about them is important so that we understand ourselves as well as how things act and react. Some have called chemistry the study of everything.

Our atmosphere is made up of a number of gases. Which is the main gas in the air that we breathe?

78% of the air that we breathe is made up of nitrogen, with 21% oxygen and the rest made up of tiny amounts of other gases including carbon dioxide, methane, and argon.

How many elements are found on the Periodic Table?

As of 2016, there are 118 elements. As scientists discover new elements they must be submitted for approval by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

There is only one known metal that is a liquid at room temperature. Which metal is it?

Mercury. This is identified as a metal but it is made from the cinnabar rock which is also called mercury ore. The rock’s red color is due to mercury sulfide. The process of creating mercury involves mixing sulfur and oxygen and having the mercury rock boiled to 674 degrees F/356 degrees C. The vapor that results is then condensed to form liquid mercury.

What is an atom’s center called?

The nucleus. Almost all of an atom’s mass is made up of the neutrons and protons in the nucleus.

What is a chemical reaction?

This is a process that involves rearranging the molecular or ionic structure of a substance. Substances that participate in a chemical reaction are called reactants.

What is an isotope?

An isotope is each one of the two or more forms of the same element that contain the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons in their nuclei. This changes the atomic mass but not the actual chemical properties.

What method is used to come up with the Periodic Table abbreviations for all of the elements?

While we might be familiar with the names of each element, scientists made the decision to use the Latin name to create the atomic symbol for each of the elements.

What is the common name for H20 and what does the “2” stand for?

Water, which is made of up 2 atoms of hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen.

Which element is first on the Periodic Table?

Hydrogen. Its nucleus has one proton and one outer electron. It’s a very light gas that is flammable.

What is an “atomic number” for the elements?

This is the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom, which determines the chemical properties of an element and its position in the periodic table.